The Evening: Comey Firing, Turkey’s Threat, Jazz Fest Revisited and More
May 10, 2017
It's Wednesday, May 10th.
President Trump had been considering firing James Comey from his position as director of the FBI since he became president, a White House spokeswoman said today. But even though Mr. Trump had lost confidence in Mr. Comey, the recommendation from the deputy attorney general to fire Mr. Comey was not made at the president’s direction, said the spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as the New York Times’ Michael Shear and Peter Baker report.
And, as CNN’s Jim Acosta, Laura Smith-Spark, and Nicole Gaouette report, President Trump hosted Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak at the White House today.
Dive Deeper: CSIS trustee Bob Schieffer’s “About the News” podcast features an interview recorded today with the Washington Post’s David Ignatius on the aftermath of the Comey dismissal. A transcript of the podcast is available and you can listen to the podcast on iTunes or here.
Also, see CFR’s Matthew Waxman: “Will FBI Sacking Affect National Security?”
Turkey Threatens Military Action Against Syrian Kurds
Turkey has threatened to step up military action against Syrian Kurdish fighters allied with the United States, in response to the Trump administration's decision to directly arm the Kurds for an assault on the Syrian city of Raqqa, as the Washington Post’s Kareem Fahim and Adam Entous report late this afternoon.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Bulent Aliriza has a new commentary: “Trump Decides to Arm the Syrian Kurds Over Erdogan’s Objections.”
Also, see Chatham House’s Lina Khatib on “Putin’s ‘Safe Zones’ in Syria Are Nothing of the Kind.”
U.S. May Send Patriot Missile to Lithuania
U.S. defense officials today said a long-range Patriot missile battery may be deployed to the Baltic region later this year as part of a military exercise. The move, if finalized, would be temporary but signal staunch U.S. backing for Baltic nations concerned about the threat from Russia. At a news conference today in Vilnius with President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. “will deploy only defensive systems to make certain that sovereignty is respected. The specific systems that we bring are those that we determine necessary,” as the AP’s Lolita Baldor reports.
Dive Deeper: For more on the Patriot and the Russia-NATO A2AD environment, see CSIS’s interactive micro-website “Missile Threat.”
In That Number
The number of organized crime-related deaths in Mexico last year, making Mexico second only to Syria in the number of conflict-related deaths recorded last year. Source: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
“Could the Trump team be backing into its own Mogadishu moment? In Syria, the US military is once again in the lead for executing a mission without a strategy, and has been delegated most of the day-to-day responsibility for monitoring their own progress.”
—CSIS’s Alice Hunt Friend and Melissa Dalton authored an opinion piece in the Hill today, “Doomed to repeat? How Syria could become Trump's Somalia.”
Ahead of the Belt and Road Forum on May 14-15 in Beijing, see China’s plans for its infrastructure projects across Eurasia, mapped by Reconnecting Asia.
Dive Deeper: CSIS’s Christopher Johnson, Matthew Goodman, and Jonathan Hillman authored a new Critical Questions, “President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ Forum.”
The Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab at CSIS enhances our research with the latest in cutting-edge web technologies, design, and video.
(Photo Credit: Molly Riley/Pool/Getty Images.)
President Trump meets with former secretary of state and current CSIS trustee Henry Kissinger today in the Oval Office.
“Iran's railway revolution aims at expanded trade, investment,” by CSIS’s Jon Alterman and Jonathan Hillman for Nikkei Asian Review.
This Town Tomorrow
Join the CSIS Alliances and American Leadership Project at 9:00 a.m. with for a conversation with Air Marshal Leo Davies, chief of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Join CSIS’s Project on Prosperity and Development at 1:00 p.m. for “The Future of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).”
Join CSIS’s Proliferation Prevention Program at 2:00 p.m. for a conversation with Dr. Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), to discuss the development of its science-based verification regime and its role in detecting North Korean nuclear tests.
And join the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS at 4:30 p.m. for the launch of its new interactive website, Engaging Indian States.
In March, CSIS launched a major report titled Recalibrating U.S. Strategy toward Russia: A New Time for Choosing. The report launch featured a keynote address by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). You can read the report here or watch the event on demand here.
“The Business of Startups: A Conversation with Two of India's Top Women Entrepreneurs” via Smart Women, Smart Power.
Let’s take a second and revisit Jazz Fest, which just concluded in New Orleans last weekend. The performances at the Fairgrounds are often historic and spellbinding. In recent years though, the free record store performances in the French Quarter’s Louisiana Music Factory are not to be missed. And if you do miss them in person, the next best thing is watching the video. The sound is muffled and the video is often shaky and amateurish. But these performances are the real deal. Like John Mooney. He’s the real deal. And really makes me smile.